I personally think you have to be Polish or have studied a great deal of Polish history during World War II and, perhaps, the cultural history of Poland to understand everything in this film. But, it is a set of brilliant dark commentaries on men in time of war. In our first film, Scherzo alla Polacca, a man runs away from his duty during the Warsaw Uprising. He has been a selfish man and does not adapt well to sacrifice, but he reluctantly makes an attempt to do something for the cause without much real effect. This is dark comedy at its best and pokes fun at Hungarians as well as poking fun at opportunists during wartime.
Our second film, Ostinato Lugubre, tells the story of a group of Polish Officers encamped in a German Prisoner of War camp and details the everyday life of the men as they deal with their feelings, lack of privacy and their affection for one man who escaped. Did he really escape? This is the plot point that holds this story together so well. We witness brilliant acting and a deeply moving script.
This is considered one of Munk's great masterpieces and deserves a chance to be released on video. This was part of a festival at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.